Health Reform and Retirement

Helen Levy, Thomas C. Buchmueller, Sayeh Nikpay

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Objective To analyze whether there was an increase in retirement or in part-time work among older workers after January 2014, when new health insurance coverage options became available because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Method We analyze trends in retirement and part-time work for individuals aged 50-64 years in the basic monthly Current Population Survey from January 2008 through June 2016. We test for a break in trend in January 2014. We also test for differences in trends, both before and after 2014, in states that expanded their Medicaid programs in January 2014 under the ACA compared with those that did not. Results We find that there was no change in the probability of retirement or part-time work among older workers in 2014 and later, either overall or in Medicaid expansion states relative to nonexpansion states. Discussion Although many observers had predicted that an unintended consequence of health reform would be reduced labor supply, we find no evidence of this for older workers in the first 2.5 years after the law's major coverage provisions took effect.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)713-722
Number of pages10
JournalJournals of Gerontology - Series B Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 16 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants from the Social Security Administration through the Michigan Retirement Research Center (Grant RRC08098401) and the National Institute on Aging (NIA K01AG034232 to H. Levy). The findings and conclusions expressed are solely those of the authors and do not represent the views of the Social Security Administration, any agency of the federal government, or the Michigan Retirement Research Center.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 The Author(s).


  • Health care policy
  • Insurance
  • Labor force dynamics
  • Retirement


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